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Norland School No. 1115.
The one-room log structure was built on the N. W. corner of N.E. 15-18-17W on an acre of land purchased from Ludwig Johnson for the sum of $5.00. For the first three years the treasurer's accounts were entered in Swedish, e.g. "spik" (nails) Kassabeholning (cash on hand), and also some mixed expressions, such as "Sjingell" (shingles), from Engman til (to) P. Christopherson.
The first teacher was Jas. McGillivary and the school was open for only the three months of July, August and September with an enrollment of nineteen pupils. Ages ranged from five years to sixteen years and Grade Four was the highest class taught. The district reached for five miles from north to south and varied three to three and a half miles in width with the creeks meeting to form the Rolling River criss-crossing the area. The children in the outlying areas must have had discouraging distances of up to four miles to walk. It is small wonder that at tendance was haphazard. When the creeks flooded, which they did regularly, the children were often cut off from school altogether. One early tale is told of flood time in 1907. It was necessary to hold a school board meeting but as the trustees lived on opposite sides of the river there were, naturally, complications. Nothing daunted, they met as close to the banks of the river as possible and carried out their business over the water.
In telling about those first school years, some of the pupils who had completed the first elementary grades in the old country were disheartened to find that, because they knew no English, they had to begin with Grade one. There was one compensation, however, figures are the same in many languages, so in arithmetic they could function. No doubt the central European children who came later experienced the same difficulties. One of the trustees was opposed to hiring a Swedish teacher as he was afraid that the pupils would be hindered in learning English. When they hired Miss Elma Sundmark from Stockholm, Sask. (What could she be but Swedish?) she told no one but the folks at her boarding place that she was Swedish. One of her pupils recalled how she punished them if she heard them speaking Swedish. She made them write twenty-five lines of "I must not speak
Norland School No. 1115, year 1943.
Swedish, but English." This was naturally difficult for them especially when they went out to play. They overcame this ruling, however, by going far enough from the school so she couldn't hear them. She probably was more sympathetic than they realized but how much simpler it would have been if she had been encouraged to use both languages.
The location of the school was not satisfactory to all so it was moved one half mile farther east. Arrangements were made to move the building while the ground was still frozen and enough snow remained to make the job easy. All local farmers with teams gathered to carry out the move, but to no avail, the building would not budge. Just about this time Victor Walstrom was bringing his steam engine out from the winter's sawmill site so he hooked onto the building and began the move without too much difficulty. However, it was necessary to cross a small creek that ran close to the new site. The spring break-up had come very quickly, so Mr. Walstrom had all he could do to get his engine out of the creek without any further burden. The building had to be abandoned for a time. Finally August Bergwall and Oscar Ostrom borrowed a stump puller from the Oman's, and, as one resident put it, "Then that school just had to come." Classes of course, were held up while the school rested at the creek. This building served the district until 1953 when it was destroyed by fire and a lot of records as well. In the intervening years it had had exterior siding applied over the logs and the inside had been lathed and plastered. A new school was erected on the same site and sufficed until the school was closed in 1964.
Because of dissension amongst the residents of the district, in March, 1927, a meeting held decided that they have an official trustee. Mr. O.J. Gusdal of Erickson was appointed by the Department of Education and he served until his untimely death in 1934. His wife, Anna Gusdal, carried on in this capacity for about ten years. She was followed by Harold Paulsen until the school term of 1947-48. At this time a local board was again elected to serve the Norland School.
There were two knocks at the school door that put fear into the hearts of the children. The one was when it was the doctor who appeared. All new beginners knew that now their turn had come for something they didn't